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Fundamentalist Movement

Woodrow Wilson

Fundamentalist Movement: Woodrow Wilson was the 28th American President who served in office from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921. One of the important events during his presidency was the emergence of the 1920's Christian Fundamentalist Movement.

Definition and Summary of the Fundamentalist Movement
Summary and definition:
The Fundamentalist Movement emerged following WW1 as a reaction to theological modernism.Fundamentalists  also rejected the modernity of the "Roaring Twenties" that increased the impulse to break with tradition and witnessed Americans beginning to value convenience and leisure over hard work and self-denial.

A number of conservative Americans rejected these new ideals and attempted to restore old morals and Protestant religious values. As a result, a new kind of Christianity emerged which was called Fundamentalism. The Fundamentalists believed that the Bible should be taken in the literal sense and rejected ideas such as Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution which led to the prosecution of schoolteacher John Scopes and the famous 'Monkey Trial'

Christian Fundamentalist Movement Facts: Fast Fact Sheet
Fast, fun facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the Fundamentalist Movement.

What was the Fundamentalist Movement? The Fundamentalist Movement was a religious movement established by American Protestants as a reaction to theological modernism, which aimed to revise traditional Christian religious beliefs to accommodate new theories and developments in science.

Where was the goal of Fundamentalist Movement? The goal of the Fundamentalist Movement was to revive old morals and Protestant religious values and restore traditional interpretation of the Bible by reacting against “modernist” theology and biblical criticism.

Fundamentalist Movement Cartoon: The 1922 Fundamentalist cartoon portrays Modernism as the descent of Modernists from Christianity to atheism.

What were Fundamentalist Movement Beliefs: The Fundamentalists in  the movement believed that the Bible was literally true and without error and rejected ideas such as Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution

Facts about Fundamentalist Movement
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Fundamentalist Movement.

Fundamentalism rejected the new, modern consumer culture and relaxed ethics and morals and many condemned any other religious beliefs.

The term 'Fundamentalism' derived from a series a twelve volume set of 90 essays by different authors entitled "The Fundamentals". The essays outlined orthodox Christian doctrine and were published by oil millionaire Lyman Stewart (1840–1923). The essays were distributed to Protestant churches free of charge.

"The Fundamentals" provided an overview of the bible, the inerrancy and inspiration of the bible, basics of the Christian faith such as sin, atonement, grace and justification

Fundamentalists reacted against Urbanization which saw rural workers moved towards manufacturing centers in towns and cities, with the temptations associated with modern city life, which they believed symbolized the nation’s moral decline

Fundamentalists did not like the influence of jazz, or the new way in which women, especially Flappers, dressed and behaved.

Fundamentalist Movement was led by conservative evangelical Christians in reaction to modernism and liberalism.  Fundamentalist worship practices were heavily influenced by evangelism and revivalism.

The Fundamentalists believed strongly and literally in everything written the Bible. They totally rejected the  ideas of Charles Darwin theory of evolution and prevented it from being taught in schools.

The Fundamentalists launched a fierce attack on the ideas of evolution detailed in 'On the Origin of Species' by Charles Darwin. A major Biblical Conference, the World’s Christian Fundamentals Association,  organized a campaign against the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in American schools. Charles Darwin had said that humans had evolved from apes over millions of years. The  Fundamentalists especially disagreed with the idea that men and monkeys had evolved from the same creature.

The Fundamentalist campaign resulted in laws being passed in six states prohibiting the use of Darwin’s books in schools and making it illegal to teach the theory of evolution.

The Fundamentalist campaign resulted in laws being passed in six southern states in the 'Bible Belt', prohibiting the use of Darwin’s books in schools and making it illegal to teach the theory of evolution.

The law were challenged by an outraged John Scopes who defied the fundamentalist law and continued to teach evolution in schools in his biology lessons in order to make a political point.

The 'Monkey Trial': John Scopes, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), fought a well publicized court case, referred to in the press as the 'Monkey Trial', for teaching Darwinism. John Scopes was accused of teaching Darwinism, the theory of the evolutionary origin of man, rather than the doctrine of divine creation..

The 'Monkey Trial': William Jennings Bryan (1860 – 1925), a firm believer in a literal interpretation of the Bible, acted as solicitor for the fundamentalists. Clarence Darrow was chief defense counsel for John Scopes in the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes that began on July 14, 1924 - nicknamed the 'Monkey Trial'.

The 'Monkey Trial': John Scopes was found guilty of teaching the theory of evolution to his pupils and was fined $100 (later overruled).

The much publicized court battle proved a victory for supporters of evolutionary theory but the Fundamental Christians continued with their crusade helped by the charismatic evangelists and ardent Fundamentalists Aimee Semple McPherson and Billy Sunday.

Billy Sunday (1862 – 1935) started his career as a professional baseball player and became a popular, highly animated, evangelical preacher of the Fundamentalist Movement attracting huge crowds to his revival meetings. His fame and influence grew as a "nationally renowned phenomenon" and he counted Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. as friends.

Aimee Semple McPherson (1890 – 1944) was another Fundamentalist evangelical preacher and a media celebrity. Aimee Semple McPherson was also a faith healer. She was a spellbinding speaker and conducted her sermons, revivals and faith healings like theatrical performances in which bible stories would come to life. Aimee Semple McPherson  used the best actors, set designers, lighting, costumes and make-up artists and attracted a massive following.

The fundamentalists denunciation of modernist theology led many of them to reject contemporary education and gave the impression of many outsiders that fundamentalism was essentially anti-intellectual.

By the end of the 1920s, fundamentalists had lost control of the major denominations and the movement began to decline.

US American History
1913-1928: WW1 & Prohibition

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